Books I read in 2015

Book buyingI hope I remember them all! Many were e-books – I could read them in a doctor’s waiting room, on the bus, in an airplane, on the beach and even in a coffee shop. My little Kobo is easy to read in dim light and surely easier to carry in my purse than a physical book. But I do love physical books! I love having my huge book case full of them, standing in front of it, touching the backs, reading the titles, remember the stories each one told. I still have some I want to read again, others – but not many – I haven’t read yet. Each year I sort out the ones I know I’ll not read again and donate them to the Rotary Book Sales Event. They hold one sale in spring and one in fall in a shopping mall. Last year they sold so many books they could bring close to $400,000.00 to the bank. Every cent goes for good causes.

With which book did I start out in 2015? I cannot follow a ‘timeline’ but I’ll mention the titles and authors and surely will give you my honest recommendation by placing little stars *** next to them. (Six stars mean I’ll read again) It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a different taste in topics – but we all do follow our hearts desire in what we choose, right? The one or the other book may have more or fewer stars on Amazon but this is me, personally.

  • Louisa Elliot ******, Liam’s Story *****, The Master’s Tale *****, written by the English Bestseller writer Ann Victoria Roberts. I can just say one word: Engrossing.
  • The Officer’s Code *****, The Versailles Legacy *****, The English General *****, The Ghosts of War *****. My opinion? You learn a lot of WW history while being fascinated by the private lives of the characters. These books by Lyn Alexander could be Canada’s answer to ‘Downton Abbey’. Really!
  • The Night I Danced with Rommel ****, by Elisabeth Marrion. Enlightening.
  • The Nazi Officer’s Wife ****, how one Jewish woman survived the Nazis in Germany. Written by Edith Hahn-Beer. Heart wrenching. One aspect of the Jewish survival you may never have known.
  • In the Garden of Beasts *****, The American Ambassador in Hitler’s Berlin. Eric Larson weaves a compelling story based on an incredible amount of research. You can’t help but feeling ‘part of it’.
  • A Woman in Berlin ***, a diary of a journalist trapped in Berlin during the last few days of WWII. Intriguing because the author remains ‘Anonymous’.
  • Last Train to Berlin ****, an account of a PoW trapped in Russia – too useful to the authorities to let him go until four more years after WWII. Hans Peter Marland.
  • The Gift: Redemption, book III of the Gift Legacy ****. I saw an excerpt and since kayakers were involved and the setting was Vancouver I read it. I had NEVER read any ‘Thriller’ before but I was ‘gripped’ by the flowing story. It even led me to read the next book of the ‘Gift Legacy’ – Pennance by the author J.P. McLean. What an imagination!
  • Paris 1924 ***, a fascinating account of life in Paris by the same author of Wolves among Sheep ***** which I have read twice. James Kostelniuk has never been in Paris but reading along, you feel you are there!
  • I was Hitler’s Chauffeur **** by Erich Kempke. It sheds a totally new light on Hitler. It ‘rattled’ me and kept me awake for a few nights, thinking instead of sleeping.
  • Hitler – The Memoir of the Nazi Insider who turned against the Fuehrer by Ernst Hanfstaengle. After reading this book, starting at the very beginning of Hitler’s rise, I am flabbergasted by how little is really known.
  • Edge of Eternity **** – the 3rd book in the trilogy by Ken Follett. The first two, Fall of the Giants ***** and Winter of the World ***** are books one can’t put down. This last one was a bit disappointing. Too much talk about sex when not quite appropriate. Maybe it is what many readers like? The story, set after WWII is based on reality and one relives what was happening.
  • The Help ***** is a book I recommend highly. Kathryn Stockett tells a superb tale of a colored servant in the southern US..
  • North of Normal **** is a shocker. A girl’s life, growing up within the ‘hippie’ culture – unbelievable for someone like me, never having had a taste of it. She made it to becoming an international model, wife and mother. I met her, sitting next to her at an author’s reading event. How could she have turned out so ‘normal’? This book is the memoir of the author Cea Sunrise Person.

Last but not least I had to re-read We Don’t Talk About That – An Amazing Story of Survival WWII. I needed to ‘refresh’ my mind for an important presentation at the university. I can’t believe I wrote this book. I still feel humbled by one of the reviewers on my website, who said ‘This book is not just good, it is very good.’

Every book I have read in 2015 added to my knowledge or enjoyment. Now, at the beginning of 2016, I am reading All The Light We Cannot See, by author Anthony Doerr, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. It is considered one of the ‘best books of 2015’. “Moonrising”, Ann Victoria Robert’s newest book is on my Kobo. Can’t wait to read it. I love Ann’s mastering of the English language. Music to my ears.

There are so many more books I’d have loved to read but I am also a writer. I am told ‘the day has 24 hours and the night has 12’ – but for me, even 36 is not enough to get everything done I want to do.

Forget Me Not 3D image (2)My new book Forget Me Not – A Bouquet of Stories, Thoughts and Memories – will be available through Amazon etc. as e-book (Kindle, Kobo and more) as well as soft cover. It will hopefully be released within the next few weeks. It makes a terrific gift item (see the title!), contains over 50 stories, each one tackling a common problem from adoption, stepmothers, politics, war, cancer, internet love, dogs, travel, extra-ordinary people and more. All stories are carrying a special message inciting discussions and lend themselves for reading within a group.

Stay tuned for more.

My Year 2015 in the Rear View Mirror

2012-emailteaserWordPress does an incredible job of putting together an overview of what happened on my website during the previous year. In 2014 for instance, my ‘blogs’ were read and my website was visited by people from 64 countries. This past year, in 2015 the number has gone up to 90. Ninety countries? Hard to believe that so many exist! Just joking.

WordPress made me smile with the following comparison: The New York subway train holds 1,200 people. It would take the subway six trips to move all the people who have visited, viewed, read or followed my website: 6,900 of them. I was born in a village with 1,000 inhabitants. 6,900 seems like a bigger small city to me! And to think that these people are spread all over the globe. For my own fun I have taken the time to check where all these people are located:

  • 3,933 live in Canada. No surprise because that’s where I live as well.
  • 1,164 live in the USA, our neighbour country. (or vice versa?)
  •    460 live in Germany where I was born but uprooted and left in 1963.
  •    260 live in the United Kingdom where I have many writer friends.
  •    231 live in Brazil. Surprising to me. I have been cruising South America.
  •      87 live in Morocco. I have toured this country and had a beautiful holiday.
  •      76 live in Italy. Superlatives for wine and food. I love Venice, the sinking city.
  •      74 live in Mexico. Several holidays to get the elusive Canadian sunshine there.
  •      66 live in Australia, down-under. Will never forget my trips there. ‘Crocodile Dundee..’
  •      61 live in India. Will I ever see the Taj Mahal in person? Sadly, too late for me.
  •      34 live in Switzerland. Pretty country to see by car or train and so clean.
  •      28 live in the Philippines. This was another surprise for me. Never been there.
  •      26 live in Austria. Actually I had expected more because of a similar WWII history.
  •      23 live in Spain. Naturally I have been there. Unforgettable is the ‘Alhambra’.
  •      21 live in France. A week in Paris, first time eating raw oysters. Saw Versailles, yes.
  •      14 live in the Czech Republic. I never had the chance to visit this country.
  •      13 live in Russia. Russian soldiers invaded my village at the end of WWII.
  •      12 live in Malaysia. Had just a glimpse of it but feel I know it. Maybe from books?
  •      11 live in Indonesia. My sister told me how beautiful it is. No chance for me yet.
  •      10 live in Greece. I toured Greece several times. It was hard to breathe in Athens.

Let me just list the countries with under 10 visits to my website in declining numbers:

South Africa 8, Argentina 8, Norway 8, Ireland 6, New Zealand 6, Chile 6, Pakistan 5,Serbia 5, Ecuador 5, Thailand 4, Poland 4, Croatia 4, Denmark 4, Peru 4, Turkey 4,Taiwan 3, Colombia 3, Algeria 3, Romania 3, Hungary 3, Vietnam 2, Bulgaria 2,Lithuania 2, Egypt 2, Venezuela 2, Cambodia 2, Gambia 1, Ghana 1, Senegal 1,Sweden 1, Estonia 1, Slovakia 1, Ukraine 1, Oman 1, Sudan 1, Ethiopia 1, Bolivia 1,Mozambique 1, Honduras 1.

Nobody from China or Japan? Very interesting! Maybe next year! To think that there are people in all these countries who speak English, have a computer and are able to browse through web posts interesting to them. I have posted 54 blogs in 2015; the Happy New Yearbusiest day with visitors was November 11th reading “We Don’t Talk About That” and the most visitors clocked in to “Cupid’s Arrow” on Valentine’s Day. Everybody loves a love story. My website now has 114 blogs archived for you, my readers, to peruse. You’ll find many stories of great interest, some might make you shake your wise head, others will make you laugh and some might make you think and compare the good ol’ times with what’s happening in the world today.

Happy New Year to all of you!

How Reading and Writing Influenced my Life

An on-line interview with Tina Frisco:

‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Hansel and Gretel’, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ and ‘Rapunzel’ were the fairy tales my grandma told or read to me many times when I was a small kid. They stuck in my head and I believed they were true stories. These stories had a huge influence on my imagination. Even today I take some television shows to heart in such a way that I lose sleep over murders or behaviour unexplainable to me and I have to be reminded: “Don’t get upset, – these are just stories…”

Tina Frisco had definite questions for me and she made it easy to give her open and honest answers. Maybe for you, my reader, they provide a glimpse into my “inner workings”. Enjoy!